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JAHC to host evening of South Pacific fusion music and dance on Sunday

Posted: October 13, 2011 - 12:01am  |  Updated: October 13, 2011 - 12:05am
Te Vaka  Courtesy of Te Vaka
Courtesy of Te Vaka
Te Vaka

The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council will present their first concert of the season this weekend with the South Pacific fusion music and dance of Te Vaka. Te Vaka will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Juneau Douglas High School Auditorium.

Te Vaka is comprised of 12 musicians and dancers from Tokelau, Tuvalu, Samoa, Cook Islands and New Zealand. Lead vocalist and songwriter Opetaia Foa’i was raised in Samoa until the age of nine when his family emigrated to New Zealand. Once there, he continued to be musically influenced by the Tokelauan community (Tokelau is a territory in the South Pacific and is under the administration of New Zealand.) Opetaia Foa’i writes many of his songs in Tokelau, an original dialect of old Polynesia, but also writes in Samoan and Tuvaluan. (Tuvalu is a collection of islands near Samoa.)

The band uses traditional and contemporary instruments, including the log drum (or “pate”) and goat skin bass drum (“pau’u malu”). Other instruments include guitar, bass and flute,

The Guardian called Te Vaka’s performance “one of the most dynamic live experiences I have ever witnessed” and Wired magazine called it a “stereotype-smashing glimpse into the true soul of the South Seas.”

Te Vaka, formed in 1994, has performed in over 35 countries around the world and released six internationally acclaimed albums. Their first album, “Te Vaka” released in 1997, was distributed to over 80 countries. The second album, released in 1999, reached No. 1 on world music charts and on mainstream radio in the South Pacific. The third album, released in May 2002, gained the group a nomination in “Best Roots” category in the New Zealand music awards and nominations for BBC 3 World music awards in the UK. The fourth album, “Tutuki,” entered the European World Music Charts at No. 4 and the USA Global Rhythm top 10 chart at No. 3. It won a Tui for “Best Pacific Music Album” in the New Zealand music awards as well as Songwriting Awards in both the US and Australia. The fifth Te Vaka album, “Olatia,” released in July 2007, entered the European World Music Chart at No. 4 and won a “Tui” for “Best Pacific Album” in the 2008 Pacific Music Awards. The sixth album, “Haoloto”, released in December 2009, won “Best Pacific Group 2010” and “Best Pacific Language Song” at the 2010 Pacific Music Awards.

Tickets to Te Vaka’s performance are available at the JAHC office, Hearthside Books, and online at

This event is sponsored by Elgee Rehfeld Mertz

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